Over the last few weeks I've been helping out with the beta for the Salesforce Service Cloud certification. While I've had plenty of experience of these exams from a candidate perspective, this is the first time I've been able to contribute back to the exams, and its been a real eye opener.
What has surprised me most is the amount of time that is involved - I've personally spent a number of days on this, and there are quite a few of people involved. The effort that goes into ensuring the exam is accurate, worded appropriately and at the correct level is quite frankly staggering and way more than I was expecting at the outset.
As I've mentioned in an earlier blog post, the service cloud exam had to be withdrawn due to reports of questions and answers being publicly available. While this was irritating for potential candidates, the impact on those involved with producing the exams must be orders of magnitude higher. It isn't like a new exam can simply be churned out in a semi-automatic fashion by a dedicated team, rather these are created by subject matter experts from Salesforce and the wider community who all have day jobs and have to make time to do this. Even more reason, if it were needed, not to capture questions and ruin it for everyone. Up to now, I've admonished people requesting questions and answers fairly mildly and tried to encourage the askee to make the effort to learn. No more - now that I've seen first hand the effort that goes into these, any requests of this nature will be dealt with human torch style - flame on!
So next time you are taking one of the exams and feel like the questions are intentionally trying to confuse or trick you, keep in mind that nothing could be further from the truth. They've been put together by a group of human beings trying their level best and in many cases doing it for nothing with the best interests of the Salesforce community at heart. This is also something to bear in mind if you are tempted to capture and share the questions and answers.
If you are going to Dreamforce 12, you'll find the members of the certification team in the campground. If you are a certified professional, why not take the time to visit and maybe tell them how much you appreciate their hard work over what must have been a very difficult year - but for them, you wouldn't have any exams to take in the first place. I'll certainly be doing that - maybe I'll see you there.